The America Play is a play written by Suzan-Lori Parks that was first performed in 1994. The play tells the story of a man named Brazil, who is a garbage collector and a performer who portrays the historical figure of "The Foundling Father," who is believed to be the first president of the United States. Brazil's performance is a commentary on the role of history and its interpretation, as well as the relationship between race and power in America.
Throughout the play, Brazil grapples with his own identity and the weight of history that he carries as a performer. He is constantly questioning the veracity of the stories he tells, and the role that he plays in shaping the way that history is remembered and understood. As a black man who is portraying a white historical figure, Brazil is also exploring the complex relationship between race and power in America.
In addition to Brazil, the play also features his wife, Lucy, who is a former lover of The Foundling Father, and their daughter, Sadie, who is a young aspiring actress. Through their interactions and conversations, the play delves into themes of family, love, and the search for one's own identity.
One of the most striking aspects of The America Play is its use of language and symbolism. Parks employs a unique style of dialogue that mixes elements of African American Vernacular English with historical and literary references. This creates a sense of disjunction and disconnection, highlighting the way that language can be used to obscure and manipulate meaning.
Furthermore, the play uses the metaphor of the hole to explore the theme of identity. Brazil is obsessed with digging a hole that he believes will lead him to the "great hole of history," where he will be able to find the truth about the past and his own place in it. This metaphor is used to symbolize the search for understanding and meaning, and the way that history can shape and influence one's sense of self.
Overall, The America Play is a powerful and thought-provoking work that explores themes of identity, history, and race in a unique and compelling way. Through its complex characters and innovative use of language and symbolism, it invites the audience to consider their own place in the world and the role that history plays in shaping their understanding of it.
The America Play
His beard box was of eherry wood and lined with velvet. On the 102nd anniversary15 the Son was 5 and the Father taught him "the Gnash. WONDER: HOI LUCY: apron from uhronnd my waist. U C Y: You gonna in yr coffin now or later? Here, 2 recent finds: thuh first: uh yellow beard, thuh next: uh bag of gold. BRAZIL LUCY BRAZIL LUCY: Little Bram Price Junior. LUCY: Keep it tuh scale.
Bram Price Senior was not thuh man he e1aimed tuh be. Not a hole he had digged but one he'd visited. Stabbed him in the back. Trenchard, that you are not used to the manners of good society, and that, alone, will excuse the impertinence of which you have been guilty. In thuh Hall of Wonders. For skills in whittlin, for skills in painting and drawing, for uh knowledge of sewin, of handicrafts and building things, for leather tannin, blacksmithery, lacemakin, horseback riding, swimmin, croquet and badminton. Rest Peoples, or thuh what-was , just had tuh hit thuh road.
LUCY BRAZIL THE FOUNDLING FATHER, AS ABRAHAM LINCOLN THE FOUNDLING FATHER AS ABRAHAM LINCOLN: "To too fearful and too faint to go. THE FOUNDLING FATHER: Only 5. A MAN Rest Theatrically : "Thus to the tyrants! A beard of uncertainty. Years of uncertainty when he didnt know if the war was right when it could be said he didnt always know which side he was on not because he was a stupid man but because it was sometimes not 2 different sides at all but one great side surging toward something beyond either Northern or Southern. How, in a limited sort of way, taking into account of course his natural God-given limita tions, how he was identical to the Great Man in gait and manner how his legs were long and torso short. LUCY: Gived intuh him on everything. By portraying black suffering in the context of a white narrative, Parks reveals how white people have capitalized on this suffering throughout history and emphasizes that black identity is an inalienable part of American identity.
Whispers could travel different out West than they do back East. Notes 2 and 3 also refer to examples of chiasmus. Washington of history-fame, son. LUCY: Ive heard of different. LUCY: Dust and polish then.
In Act II, Brazil describes The Great Hole of History as a honeymoon destination — where the Foundling Father and his wife Lucy vacationed — featuring a giant hole and daily parades. The plot of this play is of little consequence to our story. I put thuh puzzle pieces in place. You dont remember of course you dont. Rest This is my fancy beard. ~ Suzan-Lori Parks I 194 The America Play I 195 BRAZIL LLJCY LUCY: fakin. It is a jarring, often humorous vision, made more disturbing by the use of Ebonics to speak a brazen new eloquence.
To seek his fortune. And he And he tells us of his these years. BRA Z I L: Rest To our right A Jewel Box of cherry wood, lined in velvet, HA. BRAZIL: Thereud be thuh Wonders surrounding his bones and thereud be his Whispers. Thuh way I walked, cause you liked it so much. THE FOUNDLING FATHER THE FOUNDLING FATHER THE FOUNDLING FATHER LUCY: He loved that Great Hole so.
BRAZIL LUCY BRAZIL LUCY: My re-memberies--you know--thuh stuff out of my head. They are in a great hole. The Great Man had his log cabin into which he was born, the distance between the cabin and Big Town multiplied by the half-life, the staying power of his words and image, being the true measurement of the Great Mans stature. Rest BRAZIL: You hear im. L U C Y: Rest THE FOUNDLING FATHER Turn that off, son. BRAZIL: Bram Price Senior? BRAZIL: I was only 5.
The Son was only 2 then. Or, you know, words. A Man exits A MAN: Ready. Over here one of Mr. One of the most decorated living American playwrights, Suzan-Lori Parks was born in Kentucky but grew up in six different U. Welcome Welcome Welcome to thuh hall.
Poke it on out of your sleeve son. MISS KEENE: I find no trace of it. Lincoln was of course his favorite. B RAZI L: Thuh Confidencell gather upthuh whispers when she arrives. LUCY: Uh echo uh huhn. I did thuh weepin and thuh moanin. As it Used to Be.
Gnashed for her and hers like I have never gnashed. BRAZIL: I'd rather dust and polish. LUCY: We could say that. THE FOUNDLING FATHER As Mrs. LUCY Rest Rest BRAZIL: Whatchaheard?! THE FOUNDLING FATHER: next week. I iduhnt your lunch. And how thuh nation mourned.